Parallel Texts in Matthew, Mark & Luke

9. Allegorical Interpretation of Harvest 
Matt 13:36-43 

  context     Greek synopsis     English synopsis     parable     analysis     source hypotheses  

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Form: Allegorical Exegesis

The brief narrative transition by which the author focuses this pericope assumes that parables are not self-evident illustrations but rather allegories that have to be explained. Then Jesus is reported to supply his disciples with an interpretation, in spite of his insistence a few lines earlier that they already knew "the secrets of the kingdom" and, therefore, needed no explanation. Like the earlier interpretation of the parable of the Sower this allegorical exegesis is designed more for readers of Matthew's gospel rather than Jesus' original audience.

Location in Texts

Curiously, unlike the interpretation of the parable of the Sower, this pericope does not follow directly after the parable it interprets: the Wheat & the Weeds. Instead, Matthew places the parables of the Mustard & the Leaven between this harvest parable & its interpretation. This odd sequence is hard to explain, if Matthew is the earliest gospel.

There is no direct parallel to this passage in either Mark or Luke. In Mark's narrative sequence there is at this point (Mark 4:34) only the generalization that Jesus explained all his parables to his disciples privately. Instead of that vague summary, Matthew provides this detailed allegorization.

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last revised 11 December 2019


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